Knoxville housing market recovery behind the curve

Knoxville’s housing market was behind the curve when the housing bubble burst a few years back and sales and prices plummeted. That was a good thing. The regional housing market suffered, but not nearly as much as cities in California, Florida, Las Vegas and other overheated markets.

Apparently the same is true when it comes to the housing market recovery. Sales prices are starting to rise in much of the country, but not in metropolitan Knoxville, according to a report released today by the National Association of Realtors.

NAR said today that nearly 60 percent of metro markets — 91 out of 152 to be exact — saw sales prices rise in the first quarter.

Knoxville was not one of them.

The 1Q median sales price for existing single-family homes in metro Knoxville was $135,100, down 2.5 percent from $138,600 in the 2009 1Q, according to NAR.

The national median sales price in the first quarter was essentially flat — $166,100, down 0.7 percent from $167,300 a year ago.

The median is the point at which half the homes sold for more and half for less.

NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun says the first quarter numbers show the national housing market is stabilizing.

“This flattening in home prices is something we’ve been seeing in all of the home price measures lately, and quite clearly in this metro area price report,” Yun said. “The tax credit has been very effective in drawing down excess inventory, with about one million additional sales resulting directly from the stimulus.”

Of course, many real estate experts say there is no such thing as a national housing market, that real estate markets are strictly local.

Still it is interesting to compare what’s happening in your aera to what’s happening in other corners of the country.

Chattanooga, for instance, saw a 4.5 percent drop in 1Q prices while Memphis saw prices increase 18.5 percent.

All in all, Knoxville’s 2.5 percent decline isn’t that bad. If the pattern holds and Knoxville’s market lags national trends, local prices should start pushing higher late this year.

Read NAR’s press release here.

Check out NAR’s full list of metro home prices here.